In many ways, the Acid Kid was my soulmate, a kindred spirit that I ended up sharing a very important and sizeable chunk of my life with. We weren’t lovers, although we spent so much time together that others may have suspected otherwise. We just understood each other on a deep, unspoken level and, moreover, were equally fucked up.
The first time I laid eyes on the kid, he was lounging out in front of the student apartment building I lived in wearing a Velvet Underground T-shirt, a purple baseball cap, high top Chuck Taylors, and Harry Potter glasses. At this point, I hadn’t made a single real friend at Berkeley. I had friends in San Francisco and Oakland, but none at school. That particular night, I had been drinking tequila very openly on the sidewalk in front of the building and hurling drunken verbal insults at every college kid that walked past, half trying to make friends and half trying to get myself expelled from college so I could have an excuse to go back home.
When I saw the Acid Kid though, I didn’t insult him; I told him I liked The Velvet Underground very much and that all these other college kids were into lame shit like Nickelback and Creed and that I was probably going to end up murdering my roommate because he would play said lame shit at unacceptable volumes and that it was cool that at least one other person liked ok music at this fucking university. He told me he played piano and worshipped the Beatles. I told him I played guitar and worshipped The Replacements. We were instantly and irrevocably best friends and completely inseparable for the next four years.
That first night I offered him some tequila, but he told me he didn’t really drink. That would soon change, however, and his drinking habits would soon catch up with my own, despite the fact that I had a good four years’ head start on the kid. We were constantly drunk, and we brought out the best or worst in one another, depending on your point of view. As far as we were concerned, we were totally rad, and nobody could tell us otherwise.
Our friendship was of the rare and beautiful variety that gives birth to its very own unique idiosyncrasies: we had our own language, our own inside jokes that nobody else in the entire world understood, and our very own ongoing quibbles with one another. We used to argue for hours on end about who looked more like John Lennon (a comparison that both of us would receive more often than we deserved), or which brand of malt liquor was the best (my money was on Mickey’s, while he backed Steel Reserve). We would justify and rationalize each other’s worst ideas, and more often than not hold hands and skip into oblivion together. But the funny thing about self-destruction is that it ain’t so bad when you got somebody going down the wormhole alongside you.
We started bands, broke up bands, and reformed bands together. We got thrown out of parties and banned from venues together. We ruined romantic relationships together. We talked our way out of fistfights and arrests and expulsion together. We lived together and we loved together and we lost our minds together. The Acid Kid was, perhaps, the person I loved more than anybody I’ve ever known, and like all great love stories, it eventually came to a tragic end. In the end, some of the same things that had brought us together would wedge an irreparable distance between us: alcoholic insanity, heroin use, falling in love with the same chick—you know, all that Shakespearean shit that ruins every truly great historical friendship. Funnily enough, Acid Kid always hated fucking Shakespeare, but I think he’d dig the irony on that one.
I think about the Acid Kid often, and although we’re worlds apart now and our friendship belongs entirely to another time and place that will never be ours again, I will always and forever love him.
This one’s for you, bud.
P.S. To read more about my relationship with the Acid Kid and our religion revolving around Warren Zevon, click here.
P.P.S. To hear one of our short-lived musical projects, click here.
P.P.P.S. Mickey’s is still the best brand of malt liquor.
Composed sometime 2006-2009. It’s a little hazy.
Could deflower a billion nubile lesbians
with the wink of an eye
or the jaunty jangle piano key
operators in his fingertips–
by his own calculations, of course.
What’s that lady beer you’re drinking?
Five point four percent?
That’s roughly equivalent to .3
alcohol per cent
by his reckoning.
Anything less than 8%
and you aren’t really trying,
according to the Acid Kid.
“I saw Oscar Wilde whilst I was
picking myself up out of the
kaleidoscope gutter, where a group
of feral frat boys left me.
He told me about art for art’s sake
and all about declarations of genius
I only thought Lennon knew of.”
Man that’s wild.
Did he mention anything else?
“Yeah. He told me I was the
spitting image of Dorian Gray.”
The Picture of Acid Kid.